09/26/2012 (press release: CambridgePRGroup) // Racine, Wis. // Gentile Toyota
It took 5.6 million pounds of force from solid rocket boosters to lift the space shuttle Endeavour into orbit during its heyday, but it will instead be the 402 pound-feet of torque from the Toyota Tundra pickup that tows the iconic spacecraft to its final resting place. On Oct. 13, the Endeavour will make a 12-mile journey from Los Angeles International Airport to its new home at the California Space Center, with a showroom-stock 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax taking care of the final quarter mile.
Moving a 292,500-pound space shuttle isn’t something to be taken lightly, and Toyota has done due diligence to ensure the Endeavour reaches its destination safely. Working with heavy-lifting company The Sarens Group, the automaker has developed a special dolly to take care of most of the weight of the shuttle, leaving the Tundra to focus on pulling.
“It’s a great honor, and a great challenge, for Toyota to have a Tundra towing the Endeavour to its permanent home,” said Kevin Galley, Sales Manager of Gentile Toyota, a Toyota dealership in Wisconsin. “No other half-ton truck has the same combination of quality, reliability and power as the Tundra, and all three of those attributes will be tested to their limits when pulling that massive spaceship.”
Powered by a 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8 engine, the Tundra CrewMax pickup will use all of its aforementioned torque and 381 horsepower when transporting the Endeavour. That output will be channeled to the ground through a six-speed Electronically Controlled automatic transmission, which allows manual shifts when greater control is needed. Managing such a gigantic load will also require powerful brakes, and the Tundra comes with massive 13.9-inch rotors in the front and 13.6-inch disc brakes in the rear.
While the truck will be working hard during its short yet intense voyage, Tundra passengers can remain comfortable regardless of the load, thanks to the interior amenities that Toyota offers. There are options like a voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, which is paired with a JBL 12-speaker sound system and Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and hands-free phone operation. Meanwhile, an optional color-illuminated gauge cluster can display everything from coolant and oil temperature to fuel economy and distance to empty.
Though the Endeavour is now permanently grounded, Toyota Tundra sales have been on the rise this year. Toyota sold more than 11,000 Tundra pickups in August alone, a 68-percent increase compared to the same month last year. So far in 2012, sales of the truck are up 21 percent year-over-year, with more than 65,000 Tundras leaving showroom floors in the United States.
“A lot of people didn’t take Toyota seriously when it first came out with the Tundra, but the tough pickup has proven itself time and time again, and truck buyers are taking notice,” added Galley. “The towing of the Endeavour will really cement just how capable the Tundra is in their minds, and because it’s a Toyota, they know it’s going to be reliable and inexpensive to maintain too.”
About Gentile Toyota:
Committed to the goal of total customer care, Gentile Toyota treats their patrons to a no-hassle car-buying experience, featuring a large inventory of new and used Toyotas at their state-of-the-art facility. Their Racine, Wisconsin Toyota dealership also offers a fully stocked and expertly staffed service and parts department, so that local Toyota drivers can get in and get back on the road quickly. Visit them at 6801-B Washington Ave. in Racine or call 866-994-9832 to schedule a test drive or service appointment. They can also be found online at www.gentiletoyota.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GentileToyota.